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Major League Baseball Umpire Strikes Out in His Assertion of Union Privilege in Discrimination Claim

A Federal District Court in New York recently fielded the issue of whether there is such a thing as a union relations privilege and the extent of that privilege. In Hernandez v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball (18 Civ.No.35), baseball umpire Angel Hernandez alleged that Major League Baseball (MLB) had discriminated against him with respect to crew chief assignments and post-season umpiring assignments. There was no evidence Hernandez filed a grievance under his collective bargaining agreement regarding his discrimination claim and this was key to MLB's defense. Hernandez asserted union privilege in order to protect any discussions with representatives of the Major League Baseball Umpires Association (the "Union"). A New York District Court Judge, agreeing with the Magistrate Judge's recommendation, determined that under federal common law, any union relations privilege would only cover communications made in the context of representation by a union representative during disciplinary proceedings under a collective bargaining agreement. More ›

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